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Natural way to treat allergiesBY: Swati | Category: Health and Fitness | Post Date: 2008-05-25
Since year 2003 ( or about 5 years back) I started having the problem of spring /seasonal allergies. For about 2 months in a year I use to suffer horribly from red and itchy eyes, congestion and often wheezing in the night. I do not like having tablets or medicines unless I really have to, and prefer by body take care of things naturally. From the last 3 years, I have controlled my allergies symptoms substantially using several precautions and natural treatments. The intensity of allergy can vary from mild to severe but if you take certain precautions including those mentioned in this article, it should help you fight allergies in a natural way quite effectively. Most of the natural treatments for allergies are based fighting the allergens by building natural strength (like exercises, yoga, diet) or take steps to minimize the contact with the allergy causing pollens. One of the reason I believe in natural remedies over medicines is because often we develop a dependency on these medicines and many of them have side effects. It is always recommended to consult a doctor before to taking up any medicine or natural remedy for your allergy relief.
WHAT IS HAY FEVER AND WHAT ARE POLLENS?
Every year millions of people suffer from seasonal allergies due to pollens, also called the hay fever or Allergic rhinitis. When anemophilous plants (like grass), in order to disperse their seeds/pollen, produce large quantities of lightweight pollen which are then carried to great distances by air and are easily inhaled due to their small size. When these micro-sized pollens come in contact with the sensitive nasal passages trigger allergy, mostly to eyes, nose and lungs. An estimated 90% of hay fever sufferers are allergic to grass pollen. Hay fever allergies is particularly prevalent from late May to the end of June (in the Northern Hemisphere).
In this article we have mainly discussed about the spring / seasonal allergies ( also known as hay fever). Common symptoms are itchiness, congestion, redness of the eyes and runny nose. Following are the 15 most recommended ways to fight mild allergies in a natural way.
BEST WAYS TO TREAT ALLERGIES NATURALLY - ALLERGY PREVENTION
1. Avoid outdoors when pollen level is high: There are several good websites like pollen.com where you can check the allergy forecast and avoiding outdoors when the pollen level is above 9 points may be quite helpful. That site is also very good for finding allergy information and equipments.
2. Do not dry clothes outdoors: Pollens tend to stick on the wet clothes. Also avoid unnecessary exposure to chemicals such as insect sprays, air pollution, tobacco smoke and fresh paints. Once we inhale these in out lungs, they can worsen your allergy symptoms.
3. Anti Histamine foods: It is commonly believed that when you have Vitamin C with Quercitin it acts as a powerful natural allergy supplement. Additionally Vitamin B5, Vitamin A and Omega-3 Fatty Acids also help to reduce allergy symptoms including congestion, coughs and running nose. Having a multivitamin before the allergy season starts should help you boost your inner body strength and raise immunity naturally. Garlic is also believed to have anti-allergy properties, although it is not always practical to have Garlic if you will be meeting people during the day due to its odor but many stores now carry odor fee garlic tablets too. Onions, citrus fruits like lemon and oranges contain natural antihistamines. If your doctor agrees then you should definitely consider increasing these Anti Histamine foods in your diet.
4. Nasal Rinse / Neti pot: This is a very effective way to rinse of all the pollen struck in your nasal passages. Nasal rinse will drain out some bacteria and mucous and should reduce allergy. There are quite a few nasal rinse kits available with PH balancing salts, which can me mixed with filtered/boiled home water. These PH balancing salts eliminate the water irritation doing the rinse. You should consider doing nasal rinse twice a day.
5. Wear sunglasses, these reduce the amount of pollen entering the eyes.
6. Air Purifiers (HEPA): This is the MOST effective anti-allergy device for many people. These filters are almost the size of a portable fan. Turn these on when you are at home (or preferble a few hours before you come home). These HEPA air purifiers will suck air from one and and release from another, sucking out most of the allergens. There should be very helpful when you want a good night sleep. Some filters have an additional 'ionic' feature, which I personally do not like. These HEPA compatible filters should take out most of the pollen from air around you. Dehumidifiers can be used to lessen mold which is another cause of allergies. You can buy these filters from your local Walmart for about 70 dollars, I use "Holmes" brand with ultra low noise and measures about 20x20x9 inches. It has both carbon and Hepa filters. Before the beganing of each season, just replace the filters for about 30 dollars.
7. Local honey: It is recommended that you start eating about 1-2 teaspoons of locally grown natural honey before the allergy season starts. Bees are known to collect pollen from local plants. Therefore local honey will have some low levels of pollen already, and taking it before the season helps your body to get use to some pollen level in advance before the full blown season strikes ( basically helps to build immunity). Some people even try bee pollen, which I have never personally used.
8. Herbal supplements:
Products like Licorice Root/ licorice root tea, Astragalus, Capsicum and Eyebright are also recommended for natural allergy treatment. Many other natural herbs have also been shown to exhibit antihistamine properties which help to cure allergies in a natural way. It is also believed that eating nuts like almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds also help to reduce the allergy symptoms.
10. Pollen free home: Please clean your carpets, bed sheets, floors and curtains, say at least once in a week. Get a HEPA certified vacuum cleaner so the air coming out from your vacuum cleaner does not dump the pollen back in the air of your home. You can find these for under $100 in most retail outlets. This should significantly reduce allergy counts in your home.
11. Hot liquids are helpful to get relief from congestion; Green tea works well and also has antioxidants. Please be careful while handling the hot liquids. Marshmallow Root is also a good decongestant. Taking light steam also relieves congestion. Also the Mint Medley herbal tea (Bigelow brand) works very well for me when I have congestion. Within minutes I am able to breathe perfectly, although I do not like the taste of mint too much.
12. Light exercise: Congestion and running nose can often lead to a weaker respiratory system. Light exercise like brisk walking or indoor exercise cycle can give power to your lungs. But be practical, do not over stress yourself.
13. Smart Planning: Usually pollen counts are low after rain. If your local forecast says that its going to rain in next 1-2 days, then prefer doing your pending work after that. But if necessary to work in garden or cut grass then use a pollen mask.
14. Find out what are you really allergic to: Check with your doctor if they can do a detailed allergy check for you to find what type of pollens you are exactly allergic to, for example if you are allergic to grass pollen, you know lawn mowing is not the best thing to do yourself and hiring a gardener may be a better choice.
15. Allergy free Pets: If you have any pets at home, its a good idea to give them regular bath too.
16. Avoiding certain foods: Avoid any foods you know that you are allergic to and may trigger allergy symptoms. Eating common foods like banana, cucumber, melon and sunflower seeds can worsen the allergy symptoms for someone allergic to weed allergies. Nuts like peanuts are also know to trigger allergies in a few people.
17. Evening Shower: When you come home in the evening, take a warm shower and wash your hair. Hair are a magnet for allergies, they can hold a lot of pollen while you were out.
18. Window filters:
Keep extra doors and windows closed most of the time (or little open); consider buying anti pollen window filter screen. Basically a screen you can put on the window which allows the air to pass through but keeps the pollen out.
19. Overall Cleanliness: Wash your eyes and hands regularly with water. Not only it will drain away those pollens but also some give relief to your eyes.
20: Yoga: Practice hatha yoga, or gentle vinyasa when you are suffering from allergies. Yoga has several exercises that can help allergy sufferers. Recommended breathing exercises include Skull Shining Breath (Kapalabhati Pranayama) and Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Sodhana)
21. Mold control: Mold thrives in humid areas like cellars and bathrooms in your home. You can use a combination of detergent and bleach (5%) to remove them. If you think that your carpets and rugs are also effected by molds then consider replacing them.
22. Use Air conditioners to fight your allergies: As mentioned earlier, opening windows directly can let the pollens in your home. To control allergies in your home, use an air conditioning which will help to clean, recirculate and dehumidify the air. Replace your filters as needed. This is a great way to treat your allergies in a natural way.
23. Weeds: Weeds like grass, ragweed and tumbleweeds are more likely to trigger allergies then flowers, especially in dry climates.
24. Avoid tree pollen: Tree pollen is another common allergy trigger. Avoid camping and visiting areas where vegetation can be thick. Schedule trips for late summer.
25. Dust mites reduction: These tiny dust mites are another cause of allergy to many people. Clean your bedding, carpets and clean pet dander regularly. Encasing mattresses , box springs, pillows in airtight, zipped plastic or special allergy proof fabric can provide relief. Also washing bedding in hot water and drying in hot dryer will kill these dust mites.
26. Hot and Spicy foods: I have read a few places on the internet that hot foods like hot ginger, cayenne pepper, onion and garlic reduce the mucous secretions which in turn helps to clear nasal passages. So next time try spicy food (know your limits) and see if that helps you.
27. Homeopathy:Alternate medicines like homeopathy can can also provide good treatment for people with allergies and is built around to stimulate the body to heal itself. Green tea is believed to not only have high concentrations of antioxidants but also many allergy relief substances.
28. QUIT SMOKING:
Smoking is not good for people suffering from Asthma and allergies. It is recommended to keep away from even second hand smoke.
29. Use a dehumidifier
When humidity is below 45 percent it drastically slows the activity of dust mites. It is a great way to treat allergies naturally that are related to dust mites.
30. Use a synthetic pillow:
Cotton pillows can be a magnet for pollens sticking in your hair. A synthetic pillow is the answer.
These are many of the natural ways to treat allergies.
FREE ALLERGY ADVICE: Although it is advised to visit doctor for all allergy related advice, but if you do not have medical insurance then consider visiting your local pharmacists at Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS Pharmacy etc .. for free allergy treatment advice and pollen prevention.
About 36 million people suffer from seasonal allergies in the United States, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Quite a few people prefer taking anti-allergy medicines and flu shots, not always by choice but sometimes natural approaches are not enough. Do keep your anti-allergy medicines handy in case you plan to travel, or at home in case of an emergency. As I mentioned earlier, consult your doctor before trying any of these tips as I am not a doctor.
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